Personal prayer - everyone can talk with God
How to talk to the Lord? In which language? Aloud or in the mind? In a room or temple? And will God respond? Will we understand His message? You can ask a lot of questions, but it’s best to answer the main question for yourself: “What is personal prayer?”. We will talk about the important features of such a prayer in the proposed article.
Cathedral, family, personal ...
When a person comes to church at the service, he participates in congregational prayer — together with all those present, he offers his thanks and requests to God.
In believing families, it is also customary to pray together - children, parents, grandparents.
Christ himself said:Truly, I also say to you, that if two of you agree on the earth to ask for every work, then whatever they ask you will be from My Heavenly Father, for where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am among them.
But there is another type of prayer - the most secret and most intimate - personal prayer. It is your conversation with God, your invisible threads of communication with the Creator.Of course, this conversation is unique, as is every person. But it still has some common and important features. About them and will be discussed further.
Personal prayer: from prayer rule to address in your own words
In the prayer books we find examples of the prayer experience of various saints. They made up the morning and evening rules, canons, akathists. From Old Testament times, psalms have come down to us. We use this spiritual wealth, choosing what we are most impressed with.
Among Orthodox laity, the prayer rule usually consists of morning and evening prayers, reading the Gospel and the Psalter. Someone, by the wish and blessing of the spiritual father, adds akathists or canons.
The rule of monks is much more voluminous. With the blessing of the head in some monasteries, the monks lay several hundred bows and perform hundreds of Jesus prayers.
But the rule of prayer is not necessarily a real conversation with God. This is only part of a personal prayer. Turning to the experience of the righteous, as recorded in the prayers, we warm our heart. But at certain times we want to turn to God in our own way. Then we will find the right words not in the prayer book, but in our heart. This is the culmination of our communication with God.
Personal prayer is not always joy, but it is always work.
Some people believe that when they pray, they must necessarily reach a state of constant joy or even sweetness. This is a deep misconception. In prayer, one must seek communion with God, and not sweet experiences. Those who seek sensory experiences can easily fall into the demonic beauty, fall into the sectarian environment. Then total madness for them will seem to be the descent of the "holy spirit."
Real prayer books considered themselves unworthy of spiritual gifts. If any supernatural phenomena happened to them, they carefully concealed it. For example, St. Sergius of Radonezh, to whom the Most Holy Mother of God appeared during a personal prayer, asked his cell mate not to tell anyone about this until the death of the saint.
But modern people, especially in the world, can not afford the feat of the greatest saints. And accordingly, many spiritual gifts are alien.
It is easier for us to chat on the phone for two hours, than to devote 15 minutes to the evening rule. Praying is the greatest work and spiritual struggle.
If you do not believe, then promise yourself every evening to spend 30 minutes reading the Holy Scriptures or the penitential canon.You have a lot of plans for this time, you feel dizzy, your legs ache or something else happens. Christians call this a word in one word: temptations.
As priests like to compare, Christians are warriors in a spiritual post. When enemies attack (temptations come), how can you leave your post? Or is it worth fighting on, sometimes even overpowering yourself?
Do you constantly get distracted while reading the rules? But still, do not hide the prayer book, but try to concentrate once more, to ward off demonic thoughts.
Personal prayer, or when we need God
If we turn to the Lord with all our hearts, this means that we, at a minimum, believe in Him. Moreover, we understand that He is the God of mercy and love. Without Him, we would have nothing. Living with God is the main need of a Christian.
But the understanding of this does not come immediately. Many people take the path of faith after experiencing deep turmoil. In casualties, illnesses, experiences, when all earthly hopes are crumbling, we feel a special need for God. Then you understand: He can only heal. A heartfelt personal prayer is born in the heart that has accepted such a thought.
“Be merciful to me a sinner ...”
One of the most important in the Gospel is the parable of the publican and the Pharisee.
Two people came to the temple to pray.The Pharisee addressed God with these words:Oh god I thank you that I am not like other people, robbers, offenders, adulterers, or like this tax collector: I pray twice a week, give a tenth of everything I acquire.
And the second, the publican, realizing his own sinfulness and worthlessness, in repentance beat his chest and prayed:Oh god be merciful to me a sinner!
And whose conversion did the Lord accept? Such a beautiful Pharisee, full of pride and ostentatious piety? No, only a humble Pharisee, hoping for God's mercy.
Therefore, the pledge of personal prayer is the realization of one’s sinfulness and the hope of God's mercy.
And the Lord accepts sinners, rebuked by robbers. He is a doctor capable of treating the sick. But not all, but only those who are aware of their spiritual illness and ask for healing.
Personal prayer is a mystery revealed only to you and God.
Christ Himself gave us this commandment: when we pray, turn away from people and in solitude turn to the Creator.
If prayer is a conversation with God, then there should not be prying ears and eyes in it. This Pharisees-hypocrites specially prayed in crowded places so that everyone could see and be amazed at their piety.
If we pray for the sake of showing off, then we feed our inner pride. And who is the father of pride and lies? Devil. Then who do we serve window dressing?
Professor Alexey Osipov tells about the criteria for correct prayer and its fruits: